Hiking for 100 years in Vermont with the Green Mountain Club

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 08:00 AM

Autumn views from the top of Camel's Hump in Vermont.
A glimpse of Jay Peak from the Long Trail, before Jay Pass.
360-degrees views are enjoyed atop Mt. Hunger.
Roots are part of any Vermont hike.
Hiking to Laraway Lookout in northern Vermont.
A newt enjoys the trail.
Hiking the Long Trail north to Brandon Gap.
A group on the Long Trail in central Vermont.
Rainy day on the Chilcoot Trail near Morrisville, Vt.
Vermont's highest peak - Mt. Mansfield.
My boots and the Mt. Mansfield summit marker.
Looking toward Smugglers' Notch ski area from Adam's Apple.
Descending the rather exposed edge of Mansfield's Chin.
A look down to Stowe ski resort's gondola and trails.
On the Adam's Apple on Mt. Mansfield.
On the rocky ridge of Vermont's highest peak.
Looking south along Mt. Mansfield's ridge.
Fall foliage along the trail.
Hiking atop Burnt Rock Mountain.
A Long Trail through-hiker on Burnt Rock, with Sugarbush in distance.
Crossing a stream in Sterling Forest area near Morrisville & Stowe.
Hiker at Abbey Pond near Middlebury.

Hey Green Mountain Club, you are looking good at 100!

Yes, it's true. The keeper of the Long Trail — Vermont's footpath in the wilderness — is rolling into its second century. Did you know that the Long Trail is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the US?

I've been hiking in Vermont since my college days. These days spent outdoors were among the experiences that helped solidify my decision to move to the state years ago.

In the last decade, I've kept a record of my hikes in the margins of my Long Trail Guide and Day Hiker's Guide. It's fun to thumb through the pages to see where I have been, with whom, and what I thought of the different trails. Some very dry leaves are also hidden between the pages from last year's autumn hikes.

In Vermont we are so very fortunate to have a varied and extensive trail network to enjoy. Rather quickly I can escape into the woods or rocky mountain ridges. Of course, there are a whole lot of roots, rocks and mud to contend with along the way, and that's part of the package!

I have even snowshoed and skied on some of these hiking trails, which take on a very different look when the leaves have fallen and the snow has piled up.

This past month the Green Mountain Club has done a group hike each day on the Long Trail from the Massachusetts border. On Sunday they will reach Canada. I will have been on three of these hikes by then, the most recent on Mt. Mansfield two days ago.

What a day that was! We went up the west side of Mansfield, took the Long Trail north along the ridge of the mountain, and descended on the Long Trail eastward to Route 108 in Smugglers' Notch. (You'll see some photos in this slideshow.)

I am a member of the Green Mountain Club because I know that my membership helps ensure the future of great hiking experiences in Vermont. If we don't protect this asset, it will degrade.

Please visit the Green Mountain Club Web site or visitor center in Waterbury Center, Vermont, to purchase maps, guidebooks and to get advice on great hikes. Members receive a discount.

I dug into some of my photos to create this little slideshow of hiking in Vermont. Enjoy, and happy hiking!

Filed in: Mt. Hunger, Mt. Mansfield, Ski towns in summer

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